In the digital age of connectivity, business is conducted 24/7 irrespective of Time Zones. Companies expect their systems to be functioning at an optimal level at all times. IT failures and unexpected downtime are one of the most significant issues in today’s digitally advanced business environment. Unplanned downtime, no matter how short, is risky and costly for a business of any size. In this post, we will explore the causes and the cost of downtime, as well as look at ways to avoid it.
The most common causes of downtime
IT systems can go down for numerous reasons, with some causes being more evident than others. By recognizing and understanding the causes of downtimes, you can maximize your chances of preventing them.
The most common downtime causes can be boiled down to the following categories:
Human error. Human error is thought to be the most significant cause of system downtime and can manifest in many forms. Unusually, all it takes is a slip of a finger.
Planned downtime. Now and then, some essential housekeeping, such as installing upgrades, will be required, which will likely result in you being offline for some time.
Software /Hardware malfunctions. An aging hard drive, usually above three years old, can potentially cause server and application crashes. Businesses that overload their servers without upgrading the hardware to serve larger application workloads can also run into difficulty. Equally, aged and inadequate servers can result in slow response times, over-utilized system resources, and may create system failures before crashing an application or system entirely. Downtimes can also occur either when a new hardware is installed incorrectly, or when the equipment is defective. Most networks have a generous amount of redundancy built-in, but it’s still common to find hardware being a single point of failure.
Security flaws/ Cyber attacks. Security and potential cyber attacks amplify the concern of a downtime. Especially because downtime means that the attack platform has expanded substantively. Businesses are facing countless more vulnerabilities and entry points into their systems.
Natural disasters. It’s usually tornadoes, earthquakes, and the like that come to mind when we consider disasters, and yet, natural disasters only comprise a mere 5 percent of actual causes of downtime. Of course, their effects are without parallel.
Network outages. Network outages are mostly out of your control if you rely on others to provide you with network services, and it can be difficult to predict how their systems perform. It is, therefore, sensible to conduct thorough research before hiring a provider.
The Impact and Cost of Downtime
When servers or applications fail, for whatever reason, your business productivity is jeopardized. Unplanned downtime can also result in lost, damaged, or destroyed data. When systems are unavailable for long periods, usually a domino effect transpires as the employees, the customers, and suppliers are incapable of handling business and processing transactions.
These are only some of the forms an outage might impact your business:
Negative user experience
Broken brand reputation
Blown business opportunities
Downtime is also costly, with disturbing figures revealing that companies lose thousands to even millions per minute as a result of downtime. A 2016 release from the Ponemon Institute observed that the average cumulative cost of a data center outage is $740,357. In polling 63 U.S. data centers, the research also saw that the cost of downtime varies from $593 to $17,244 per minute, depending on the particular disturbance and vertical market sector, with the average cost of downtime being $8,851 per minute.
While it seems natural to think that smaller businesses would face minor losses during a major downtime occurrence, those smaller amounts can have an even more meaningful impact on the bottom line. It is only practical to have an understanding and to recognize the real cost of downtime for your business as it will vary depending on your organization’s services and the severity of the downtime.
What can you do?
The digital age has delivered a new set of connectivity and challenges for businesses and network providers alike. While a great deal of energy has gone into securing network infrastructure and developing means that can safeguard against imminent perils, the chances of outages happening are inevitable. It is crucial that you are prepared. Risk assessments and effective planning are a given, but to be genuinely prepared, you must ensure your IT structure has adaptability, security, and resilience integrated.
The more reliable your incident response strategy, the quicker and more efficiently you will handle disturbances. Which is why you should have a robust incident management plan.
To ease the process for you, we have listed below some of the methods that might aid you to prepare and possibly avoid an IT downtime:
Stay Current: keep upgrading your hardware and software. Upgrades will usually carry bug fixes and performance improvements.
Effective Monitoring: take steps to monitor your systems and network to ensure they are functioning at peak capacity. Early discovery of a performance issue can reduce the risk of a system crash.
Regular Backups: a well-executed backup plan will have your systems recovered, and business returned to normal functioning quickly, even in the event of a crash.
Robust Security: your network should always be protected, and your anti-virus shield must be up to date overall systems.
Whilst no business will fully comprehend what tomorrow will bring, still, with the appropriate IT systems in place, you have the highest chance of keeping your business functioning at an optimal level.
We understand the detriments of downtime. Our trusted team is experienced and able to explain complex issues to you in a language you’ll understand. Get in touch with our Loveland, CO-based IT support team today to learn more by calling (970) 663-1200 or visit our storefront at 1724 Topaz Dr. Loveland, CO 80537
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